The Sonnets

  • by William Shakespeare
  • Narrated by Alex Jennings
  • 3 hrs and 9 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

Everyone knows something of Shakespeare's sonnets, even if only in memorable fragments like "the darling buds of May", or "remembrance of things past", or "the marriage of true minds". For centuries these wonderfully crafted, intense lyrics have stood for something valued about youth, love, and the emotional complexities belonging to that time of life. This new recording presents all 154 of Shakespeare's sonnets, using the New Cambridge Shakespeare texts.


Audible Editor Reviews

William Shakespeare wrote 154 sonnets on subjects ranging from love and beauty to time and mortality, and this audiobook presents them all, narrated with empathy and brio by Royal Shakespeare Company actor Alex Jennings. Groundbreaking and unusual at the time they were published, Shakespeare's sonnets are still thought-provoking today, with many lines that are oft-referenced in modern literature and popular culture, from "Shall I compare thee to a summer's day" in Sonnet 18, to "My mistress' eyes are nothing like the sun" in Sonnet 130. With their rolling cadence and dramatic subjects, these poems are at their best when performed live, as this compelling recording more than proves.


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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

Good reading, great music

I have not heard other readings of the sonnets, so I don't know how this one compares with the others available. But the narrator's voice is pleasant and generally easy to follow (although he sometimes reads a little too fast for my taste).

But what I like most about this recording are the musical interludes (each lasting approx. 30-60 seconds) that precede each group of six sonnets. The music seems to date from the Tudor era and is played on the lute and/or similar plucked instruments. Whoever chose the music did an excellent job, I think, because the pieces are consistently of the highest quality. (Fortunately there is no music playing DURING the readings, but only before them.)
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- Michael

Real deal

No sentimentality. Nothing pretentious or showy. Just the sonnets as they were meant to be. It's the real deal in its entirety.
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- Simiu

Book Details

  • Release Date: 10-26-2000
  • Publisher: Naxos AudioBooks